Dit is nie maklik om Michael Taylor se opkomende uitstalling by WHATIFTHEWORLD in Kaapstad neer te pen nie, maar die titel BOY. BOAT. BAT. bied ankers wat in die water gegooi kan word. Lindsey Raymond se uitstallingsteks onderskei tussen die "Boy" as figuur, "Boat" as landskap en "Bat" as narratief. Sy skryf oor die mans in die werke as die kunstenaar se ervaring van 'n gay-gemeenskap, of tribe, en die flambojante topsy-turvy vrugteslaai van misplaaste masculinity wat dit is. Die landskap is 'n verbeeldingswêreld op water, 'n hedonistiese ontsnapping na 'n eksotiese vakansie. Die narratief is absurd en oordrewe, teatraal geskoei op humor, smagting en seksualiteit. Die kyker word uitgenooi om stories in te lees tussen die karakters, soos die gepaardgaande verhaal hieronder.
Boy. Boat. Bat.
It was the famous Otis Redding song that made Beckett want to live in a houseboat, and in 1973 he finally did. (If you assumed the Beckett in question is the celebrated Samuel, your assumption is dubious. Our hero was a ginger-haired fellow with a penchant for slacks who never attained fame, but then, he never tried. Beckett only ever practiced the art of watching, often mistaken for time-wasting by everyone around him. Everyone around him was wrong.)
Beckett discarded his old life and everyone around him like a worn out coat at the end of winter. He caught a bus to Sausalito and took a cheap room in a beat-up double-decker barge, offered for rent by an old bat named Blanch. Of the existing inhabitants of the houseboat, it is Russell who remembers Beckett’s arrival most clearly. Usually more of a feeler, in this instance Russell was the watcher, observing the new tenant’s approach from the top storey, framed by his tiny window. Russell was recovering from a series of stormy affairs, but as he saw Beckett clutching the side of the motorboat driven by their landlord, the intensity drained from these memories and leaked into the present moment, lending it a bright and ready vividness that stung his eyes. It was as if seeing Beckett was enough to turn Russell into a watcher. As if watching could be contagious. Russell stopped his watching when he registered the distinct feeling that for him, the wait is over. (He described this scene in one of his four unfinished novels, in a chapter entitled “The Coming”. The passage is memorable, as far as Russell’s usually dull writing goes, in that it mentioned seven specific shades of orange in its description of the sun reflected on the water: Syracuse; Papaya Whip; Atomic Tangerine; Tea Rose; Spanish Orange; Bittersweet and Alloy.)
It was Tricia who met Beckett at the door. She had no inclination, as she took his bags while making small-talk with Blanch, that this man would be instrumental in her landing the part-time job at the café where she first met Frank, the Freddie Mercury-lookalike frontman of failed glam rock duo The Jettisons, who would unknowingly father her daughter Tina, whose son Ty (short for Tyrone, and Tricia’s grandson, if you’re following) would become the drummer of blog-rock turned corporate indie band Vampire Regatta, the millennials who would bring that tinny country fuzz sound, first popularised by Marty Robbins in the 60’s, back to the “ironic mainstream” in 2020. She could not know, because all of this was in the future, cards still being shuffled by the tricky fingers of time. Meanwhile, back on the boat, Beckett found its gentle sway extremely conducive to his watching and stayed for more than a decade. I wish I could show you the things he saw. Can you at least imagine bits of it?
(A side-note in closing: While Vampire Regatta’s hit “Underwater Pyjama Party” would never attain the iconic status of the famous Otis Redding song that was the catalyst for Beckett’s move, it will inspire a renewed enthusiasm for a lifestyle the Instagram-generation would call #thathouseboatlife. Would a little historical detail like this make Otis Redding, a man with an interest in tides, smile knowingly? And what would it make the other Beckett, the celebrated Samuel, say? My best guess would be: something about the sun.)
Die uitstalling se opening vind plaas op 30 Augustus 2018 en duur tot 13 Oktober 2018.